The Fine Line Between Leadership Success And Failure

The Fine Line Between Leadership Success And Failure

This year’s Superbowl was not a letdown.  It was full of excitement, lead changes, and it came down to the last play of the game to determine the winner.  It had all of the elements that make for a good game.  There was even a fight that broke out at the end of the game.  I was glad that I watched the entire game and stuck with it until the end.

As a true Indianapolis Colts fan, I found myself routing for the Seattle Seahawks (sorry Patriots fans).  I even said to my friend who I was watching the game with that if Seattle tied it up at halftime, I would stick it out for the entire game.  And that’s what they did.  Both teams played well and both teams deserved to win.  But only one team can win…

This year, it came down to a goal line play.  The play that was called was immediately called “dumb” by news agencies…and by me.  I couldn’t believe it!  The Seahawks were known for their rushing attack.  And, on the goal line, they opted to call a pass play – on second down, none the less!  The pass was intercepted and the rest is history.  The Seahawks lost the game and gave up the opportunity to be back-to-back Superbowl champions for the first time since the Patriots won back to back championships in 2004/2005.

As soon as the game was over the criticisms came.  The characterization of the intellect of the coaches and the quarterback for calling such a play.  The biggest stage in all of sports – and they blew it.  The days after didn’t hold much reprieve for Russell Wilson or the rest of the team.  It was unimaginable to everyone who watched the game or followed football in the slightest.  What a let down…

But…

I found myself thinking – what if he would have completed the pass?  What if it wouldn’t have been intercepted?  What if the Seahawks would have scored a touchdown on that play and won the Superbowl for the second time in two years?

They would have been heralded as winners.  The play would have been characterized as outsmarting Bill Belichick.  Brilliant!  The Patriots were expecting a run play, but the Seahawks tricked them and passed the ball!  The accolades would be rolling in.  The offensive coordinator would be recruited for open head coach positions.  Russell Wilson would be on the Wheaties box (do they still do that?).  The Seahawks fans would have found a new level of respect for the intellectual capacity of the team they love.

But it didn’t go that way, did it?  And so, we saw a black and white illustration of the importance of one decision in leadership – that can determine success and failure.  It’s a fine line that many of us walk often.  We are faced with decisions that are full of great risk, but seem to be the right path forward.  We think, plan, and ask for others to give us input…and then we call the play.  Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose.  But, isn’t that the brilliance and appeal of leadership?

Where have you seen this fine line of leadership success and failure in your own life?  When have you called a pass play when you really should have called a run play?  Comment below and let’s start a dialogue…

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